Aprons move to fashion's front burner

July 29, 1993|By Lisa Lytle | Lisa Lytle,Orange County Register

What do a waitress, a butcher and cook have in common? They're the new muses of fashion, now that designers have taken aprons out of the kitchen and onto the streets.

Suddenly, aprons have graduated from just stain shields for nice clothes to just nice clothes.

This doesn't mean you should rush out to buy just any apron at the nearest kitchen supply store -- the "Kiss the cook" apron is best left for the weekend barbecue.

Aprons as street clothes have to be the non-frilly, unadorned, torso-covering styles. And they have to be paired with the right stuff.

Designers Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein supplied ideas on how to make this newest version of blue-collar chic work.

In his Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans collections for spring/summer, Mr. Armani broached the idea of aprons as layering pieces for women.

He modified the typical apron silhouette that covered the torso by extending the sides of the skirt to cover the derriere; the result looks almost like a cotton sundress.

"The trend is utilitarian and worker-inspired," said Courtney Chamine, spokeswoman for A/X Armani Exchange.

"That apron dress can be worn with or without a white T-shirt underneath. Mr. Armani is able to take something basic to give it a more feminine and sensual feel."

Barneys New York stores across the country are showing two versions of the apron for summer.

One by Cherche La Femme is a short, wheat cotton canvas apron displayed with a netlike long-sleeved top; the other is Barneys' own long black apron with thin straps.

"It's for the fashion-forward customer who understands that aprons are trendy," said Laura Sullivan, buyer for Barneys New York, who first saw it in designer Agnes B.'s collection.

"It looks cute with a fitted cropped T-shirt or it can be dressed up with a blouse underneath," Ms. Sullivan said.

"For someone who's very funky, it can go with a T-shirt and leggings. Clogs are ideal to complete the look for this time of the year.

"Or it can be worn to the beach as a cover-up over a swimsuit."

Calvin Klein borrowed the basic black butcher's apron and used it in his CK Calvin Klein fall women's and men's collections, placing it over white shirts. The men's aprons are in leather.

"The influence of aprons in the fall men's and women's collection show came from butchers, craftsmen, shoemakers and workmen," Mr. Klein said. "I included aprons because it just felt right. There was something clean and minimal about it."

Armani Jeans will carry the trend forward as well.

"For fall, the collection features aprons in corduroy and a jumper dress that's a takeoff on the apron in cavalry twill and wool," Ms. Chamine said.

"They're worn with chukka and lace-up boots with very chunky soles and socks or leggings underneath."

Be prepared, though. Some "faux" aprons look real: people will think you just forgot to take it off.

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